The Cape Elizabeth Town Council will vote today on proposed municipal and school budgets that require a tax increase but elicited little reaction from residents.

The $32.2 million spending plan for fiscal 2013 includes 3 percent increases in both school and town spending. The proposed $21.7 million school budget, which accounts for 67 percent of the total budget, will be considered for final approval by voters in a June 12 referendum.

If approved, the budgets will require a 4.4 percent tax increase. That would raise the property-tax rate from $15.18 to $15.85 per $1,000 of assessed value. That equates to a $210 increase on the tax bill of a $314,000 home, the median home value in Cape Elizabeth.

Town officials attribute the spending increases to payroll cost adjustments. The county tax bill for Cape Elizabeth is just over $998,000.

Council Chairwoman Sara Lennon said she supports both the municipal and school budgets. The budgets do not eliminate staff or programs.

“The bottom line is, I think it’s an extremely responsible budget,” she said.

Lennon said school officials had to deal with a net revenue reduction of $236,000 but were able to maintain the quality of education without cutting staff or programs. Revenue losses of $452,000 in federal jobs bill subsidies and $272,000 in state aid were offset by accumulated Medicare funds.

“The schools have done a fabulous job of spending every penny wisely,” she said.

Councilor David Sherman Jr. also supports the spending plan, which he said “maintains what we have.”

“I think the town staff and council have done a good job meeting the town’s needs while minimizing the tax increase,” he said.

Only four residents spoke during an April 23 public hearing on the budgets. Lennon said the residents all spoke in favor of the school budget, but no one commented on municipal spending.

“It’s been a pretty quiet budget season. We’ve gotten very little feedback,” Sherman said.

Lennon said that while the budget does call for a tax increase, the impact on residents isn’t as big as in nearby towns. Proposed tax increases for education include 3.8 percent in Yarmouth, 8.2 percent in North Yarmouth and 5.3 percent in Falmouth, she said.

“We’re well under many neighboring towns in the percentage of increase,” she said. “We’re really at the bottom.”

Staff Writer Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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